Your mobile home’s roof is the first line of defense between you and the elements. It’s no secret that water can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Therefore, it’s vital that you keep your roof in top shape. In this article, we’ll cover the basics on how to find and repair mobile home roof leaks.
Mobile home roof leaks can be sneaky so the faster you find a leak the less damage it can cause.
Even the most proactive homeowners will eventually need to find and repair mobile home roof leaks, especially if your roof is older and flat.
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommend that all homeowners inspect their roofs at least twice each year, in the spring and in the fall.
Mobile homes have been built with three different roof shapes: flat, bowstring, and pitched. The flat and bowstring were retired in 1982 and the pitched roof has been used since. There are still many homes in use today that were built before 1982, just like mine.
Both flat and shingled mobile home roofs face the same nemesis.
Snow and rain cause the majority of mobile home roof leaks. Snow is especially a problem for flat roofs. While flat roofs aren’t completely flat, they don’t have much of a pitch and that allows the snow to just sit on the roof and melt slowly.
Tree branches and flying debris from a neighbor’s yard causes a lot of mobile home roof leaks. There’s not a lot you can do about flying debris but keeping the trees around your home trimmed can reduce a lot of headaches. Be sure to hire professionals like Rancho Cucamonga to trim trees.
Moisture, either via condensation or leaks, are common issues in older mobile homes. In fact, they are such a big problem that HUD has written in-depth books on moisture.
Of course, we need to mention improper installation. This can occur both in the factory during original construction or on a previous mobile home roof replacement. This is another issue you can’t do a lot about other than thorough inspections at least twice a year.
In the construction material world, it’s hard to test for every issue or environment. Roof coatings are known to crack and stretch which can allow water through the membrane.
The image below is a good example of material breakdown. The shingles are degraded, the coating is cracked, and the
Ideally, there will be some kind of visual clue that signifies a leak is happening.
Whether you have a pitched or flat roof you’ll want to look for the following signs both inside and outside of your home. Here are a few things to look for when trying to locate a leak on your shingled mobile home roof:
Dark spots on your mobile home’s ceiling are the most common indicator that you have a moisture issue of some sort, either a leak or condensation. Learn how to paint your mobile home’s ceiling here.
If your wallpaper or vinyl-coated wall panels start peeling you’ll want to do a thorough investigation around the area to determine why it’s happening. There may be a leak or condensation issue.
If you can see light peaking through a crack near a door, window, or wall it needs to be sealed. If light can enter, so can water.
If you do have one of the signs above, or already have buckets catching water, you will need to find and repair leaks on mobile home roofs.
Finding the leak is usually the most difficult part of any type of roof.
Since shingled roofs are most common on modern manufactured homes and flat roofs are most common on older mobile homes, we’ll divide the two types of roofs for both finding and repairing leaks.
Leaks follow the path of least resistance which can make it difficult to locate the problem. While a leak may reveal itself in one place the actual cause of the leak could be 4 foot above it.
Once water passes the roofing, it flows along the sheathing, roof rafters, or topside of ceilings until it finds a place to drip down—inevitably onto your favorite piece of furniture.HomeTips.com
Replace immediately and check for popped nails need to be hammered back in place carefully.
To test an asphalt shingle roof’s condition, bend over a corner of one or two shingles on the sunniest side of the roof; if they break rather than flex, or if they appear gray and bloated, the material is nearing the end of its serviceable life. (Source)
A nail or other sharp object will create a hole that water can drain into.
The boot that surrounds your plumbing ventilation pipes can become cracked or damaged.
The metal strips around the chimney, vents, and skylights and along the marriage line shouldn’t be torn or buckled.
Leaks often occur on the edges of a mobile home, where the roof meets the exterior wall.
Winter weather brings a whole new set of issues to a homeowner. Ice can create a barrier that doesn’t allow snow and ice to slide off the roof. Learn more about ice dams here.
Old, cracked vents may need to be replaced.
Most leaks occur due to damaged flashing, damaged or missing shingles, or the ridge cap (where the top meet) so pay special attention to these areas.
Related: The Search for Hidden Roof Leaks
If you have a membrane roof (often described as rubber), look for tears, cracks, blisters and seam separation. Issues around chimneys and plumbing stacks are common. Learn more about a flat roof on a mobile home here.
This video from coolflatroof.com shows the issues that flat mobile home roofing can have:
Once the leak has been found you will need to get it repaired quickly.
If you are dealing with a sudden roof leak you will need to add some kind of barrier until you can get it repair properly.
Here are the 3 steps HomeTips.com suggest you do for a roof leak emergency:
In some cases, you will be able to repair simple mobile home roofing leaks caused by issues such as missing shingle, caulking breakdown, and flashing damage. The rest is probably best left for a roofing professional.
For complex leaks on mobile home roofing, you will want to call the professionals. Remember, water is the most destructive force on earth – it’s not to be taken lightly.
If your inspection raises concerns about the condition of your roof or you feel you need an expert opinion, contact a qualified roofer in your area. Most offer free inspections and no-obligation estimates for mobile home roof leaks and repairs or for a whole new roof.
If you do decide to contact a roofer, there are several steps you should take to ensure that you protect yourself from fraud and from unscrupulous contractors.
First, make sure you contact contractors that are licensed by the state or county in which you reside. You can go online to check their status and always ask to see their license.
Second, always get several bids for the work because that will help you determine if the cost is fair.
Third, ask your neighbors and friends for referrals. There is nothing better than a recommendation from someone you know and trust!
Fourth, ask for a sample of the material that your contractor will be using and make sure that when the truck shows up that the material on the truck is the same as the sample.
Lastly, make sure you get the warranty information in writing so you protect yourself in the event you need warranty work in the future.
If you follow these simple steps, your experience involving a roofing contractor will be a pleasant and professional one.
Leaks cause a lot of damage. If a mobile home roof leaks aren’t quickly repaired it can damage your entire home, from the roof down to the floor. That’s why inspections are so important – you need to catch leaks as quickly as possible.
Thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!